Simon did it again. Unbelievable. He managed to hook us up with two very beautiful ladies who were willing to go with us on a shoot, so we could provide them with glamorous photographs. I'm so lucky to be his wing man ;-) This time it was the sisters Farah and Noor, who really wanted a shoot at a nearby lake. As we also liked the idea we went ahead with it. The girls picked us up with their car and together we drove to the location, with the boot of the car loaded with Simon's gear (Canon 5D mark IV, various lenses two Godox Ad200 and a Godox 95cm Soft Box).
We parked the car, unloaded the equipment and readied the umbrella with the lights. Not long after we entered the area, which was recently sold by the local municipality to a private investor, we were greeted by someone who looked like a ranger. We figured he was the grounds keeper watching out for any disturbances. He told us that we looked like professionals and we weren't allowed to shoot at this location without a license. As Simon is English I explained to mr. Ranger we weren't professionals at all. That I wish I was and I explained to him we just love doing photography. It's a big hobby of ours and as these girls wanted some really beautiful pictures at one of their favourite locations, we were gladly willing to provide them with these photos at no cost whatsoever and that unfortunately we still need our regular day jobs to pay the bills. He said he didn't believe we weren't professionals. I asked if we had to leave the park or leave some of the equipment in the car. He said we could proceed as long as we didn't publish them online. I found this strange. I said to him, I always upload my pictures to my website. Again this triggered him. He said "So, you have a website. That sure sounds professional to me!" I sighed ("In what year does that man live?" I thought). He said, that if the owner's legal adviser discovers our pictures online, we would have to pay a fine and if we didn't, we would be sued. I said I understood, explained to Simon what was said and that we (strangely enough) were allowed to proceed with all the equipment we had with us.
First we made some pictures near the entrance. Making a few test shots. Making sure everything is set correctly and also let the models loosen up a bit. When people approached, we made way and were careful not to bother or upset anyone. The visitors clearly didn't mind us being there.
As usual we took turns holding the (very heavy) light and taking pictures of our models. We walked to a bridge to take some pictures there. Meanwhile we saw people taking pictures of each other with their phones and small cameras and a man and woman getting it on seriously on the beach (we saw almost R-rated kind of actions going on). All possible without interventions of the grounds keeper. This is a strange place!
After the double pictures, we tried some singles. Simon shot some breathtaking pictures of Farah, while I did a shoot with Noor.
While we were finishing up at the bridge, an announcement echoed through the megaphones. It sounded like the visitors were asked to leave. The echo and audio was so bad, it was hard to understand what was really said. Most visitors didn't look very much in a hurry, so we decided to make a couple more pictures and head to the exit.
Near the exit Simon proposed one more shoot. Farah and Noor were asked if they mind going into the water for the closing shots of the evening. The sky had a nice warm colour and the reflections it casted on the water, would make for a beautiful final picture. This was the perfect opportunity (I thought) to try out my newly acquired lens, the Lensbaby Composer pro 80 Sweet Optic. Oh my, don't let the ranger know that it has "pro" in the name ;-). When I was taking my shots I really, really, really struggled. If it wasn't hard enough to nail focus, the flash wouldn't go off all the time. Sometimes totally not responding. Every time I looked at the transmitter to get it going again, I lost my focus and had to start all over again, wasting a lot of valuable time. Eventually we found it was the batteries in the transmitter which were almost empty. I exchanged them and after taking one or two more I let Simon take his pictures. While I was holding the light I saw a van coming our way. I knew this was mr. Ranger coming for us. Simon only managed to take a couple of pictures before we were told by the ranger he was not too happy with us still being there, while we were supposed to be off the terrain. All the while there was also a lady standing behind him looking extremely angry at us. The lecture about us being pro and the threat about fining us when pics where found online started all over again. I smiled while I had the discussion with him, as I found his reasoning so ridiculous. This didn't help and made him even more grumpy. So I put on my serious face, as to get us out of there as fast as possible and be done with him. We thanked him for his patience and went on our way.
Despite the lectures, the sun burn on my face and the threat of legal actions for this adventure, I am extremely happy with this shoot. The models were amazing, Simon is fantastic to shoot and be with, the weather was perfect and we all had a great time. I would do it all over again, whatever the consequences :)
Simon's pictures can be found here (be sure to check them out, they're amazing): https://sutcliffe.photography/blog/portfolios/farah-and-noor/
These are some of the other pictures I shot that evening: